The news media, just like other television, is a product that can only exist when people like us watch it (and presumably the ads that go along with it). We assume that people feed us information about our world accurately, and objectively portray the situations we see on TV. When done well and carefully, journalism can show things truthfully (or some semblance of truth). The problems often lie in the reactions from the viewers, which more often than not are completely predictable.

During the recent situation in Egypt, giant masses of people have protested against former President Mubarak after his 30-year presidency. When Anderson Cooper attempted to reach and interview pro-Mubarak supporters, he and his crew were attacked, resulting with him receiving ten punches to the head.  Upon returning to the United States, a big deal was made about how the “thugs” behaved barbarically, and that this is just another reason that Mubarak’s regime was oppressive and evil.

It is currently the choice of the media to go where it pleases, and to broadcast its news stories to the people. This is all fine and dandy, except for the fact that the opinions of the press always seep into the message that they relays, and thus affects the manner in which the public will view the issue. The reverse is also true; the press may word their stories in a certain way in order to keep people watching. In Cooper’s appearance on David Letterman, he mentioned how it was his responsibility to get both sides of the story, but the Mubarak supporters prevented him from doing that. What better way to keep people from seeing both sides, than to make it look as if you tried open communication, and it was denied to you?

The United States and other Western Governments were conflicted with how to proceed during this crisis, especially with the fear that the collective interests of the people of Egypt would contradict those of Westerners. Had the interests of the media contradicted the interests of our government, as they did during the Vietnam War, the situation could have become complicated. There seems to be some unwritten rule that “the people have a right to know,” but what we often do not consider is that the jobs with which government is tasked, are exponentially more difficult than the ever-honorable quest for finding the truth. Even Egypt for example: since its population exploded, and millions of people are living along the Nile, which is the most hospitable area of the country, many have been living off of government subsidies.

Much like enthusiasm for President Obama and his message of “Hope” subsided after people realized they were still going to have to be competent in order to succeed, or that the war would still go on, many Egyptians will have to face the reality that just because they protested for an end to Mubarak’s dictatorship, their problems will not be instantly solved. Whether constricting the media would make things easier for people and for governments in the long run is rather irrelevant. It is unlikely that people would allow it, much in the same way people were fed up with Mubarak’s regime. Some have predicted that more countries will follow Egypt’s example.

People, whether they be Americans, Europeans, Arabs, protestors, or consumers of media, are often like children who would prefer dessert to broccoli. No matter where the media goes, the real truth will be elusive, hiding until it is ready to intervene.

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